Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting
What you are referring to appears to be a medical examiners report. In
my 23 years in law enforcement I have attended a number of autopsies
that reveal test results similar to the ones you have provided, so
from my experience (knowing no more about these test results that what
I can readily see) I'll first address the matter of terminology:
Blood Heart (or Blood/Heart) is a brief way of indicating, blood of
the heart or a blood sample taken directly from the heart muscle
Blood Peripheral could better be said as "Blood from a peripheral
region". It refers to a blood sample taken from a peripheral vessel
other than the heart such as an artery in the groin, neck, chest, etc.
It is a sample of the body's blood content at large.
Urine is the liquid waste matter excreted by the kidneys into the
bladder and expelled through the urethra.
Vitreous is short for vitreous humor which is the gelatinous
substance that fills the eyeball.
Volatiles refers to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are
compounds that might have been ingested or inhaled by an individual
and may be present in their system (usually post-mortem).
Now, the substances/tissues mentioned above retain a certain amount of
volatiles post-mortem and the can be analyzed using a chromatograph
and/or a mass spectrometer to determine the type and level of
volatiles if any are present. Certain combinations of the level of
volatiles in these substances/tissues, such as ethanol, would provide
a known signature consistent with intoxication, poisoning, overdose,
etc., and give investigators and fairly clear picture of either a
probable cause of death or at a minimum, the state of being of an
individual at a particular moment in time, say, at the time of death,
for example. This same test can be used to detect carbon monoxide,
fumes/inhalants (like accelerants, glue, paint, gasoline, etc.),
ingested material (like liquor, beer, wine, etc.), and so on. In this
case, ethanol refers to consumable alcohol (i.e. the type found in
The measurements %(w/v) indicates percent (weight by volume). As
explained here, it is an abbreviation for "weight by volume," a
slightly confusing phrase used in chemistry and pharmacology to
describe the concentration of a substance in a mixture or solution.
The weight by volume is the mass (in grams) of the substance dissolved
in or mixed with 100 milliliters of solution or mixture. For example,
the concentration of fluoride in toothpaste is usually about 0.15%
w/v, meaning that there is 0.15 gram of fluoride per 100 milliliters
of toothpaste. Thus 1% w/v is equal to 1 gram per deciliter (g/dL) or
10 grams per liter (g/L).
Ethanol is found in a number of other substances besides liquor. We
ingest it daily to some degree whether we know it or not. It is found
in peppermint, cosmetics, mouthwash, toothpaste, and other commonly
used substances. On initial glance, it does not appear that this test
results you have provided reveal extraordinary levels of ethanol, but
you might want to consult a pharmacist or a chemist for a more
reliable opinion on that particular issue.
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VOLATILES IN PHARMACEUTICALS
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